Comments and Opinions
The First Quarter, 2022 brought major pressures on both the US and Global stages. Although we began to move forward in the recovery from the last two years of the pandemic, rising inflation, rising interest rates, and supply chain issues impacted consumers and the stock markets. In March, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine brought humanitarian crises, global economic and political upheaval, and stock market uncertainty.
According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, as of March, 2022, inflation rose 8.5% over the last 12 months – a 40 year high. Gas, food, and housing were the biggest inflationary drivers putting pressure on consumers. The root causes of this inflation stem from historic government spending, continuing supply chain disruptions, and strong consumer demand.
The uncertainty of the above situations impacts our economy and the stock markets. Markets do not like uncertainty and volatility is the result. U.S. stocks recorded the first quarterly decline since the onset of the Covid pandemic in the first quarter of 2022. Source: NASDAQ. The US Gross Domestic Product was down 1.4% a reversal from an annual 6.9% growth rate in the fourth quarter of 2021. Source: Wall Street Journal
Although the US faces challenges and there is talk of recession, some believe the economy remains strong and can return to modest growth going forward. Consumer spending is strong as Covid-19 restrictions are being lifted. According to Morningstar, the Federal Reserve’s shift to tighter monetary policy increases confidence that high inflation will be tamed. Markets are now pricing in an increase in the federal-funds rate to 2.5% by the end of 2022, a much more aggressive pace of tightening than previously expected. This will come at the cost of slightly slower near-term GDP growth, but they don’t believe a recession is on the horizon.
Source: Morningstar, Quarter End Insights, April 1, 2022
As we watch and wait in a volatile market environment investors should review their portfolio’s asset allocation, risk suitability and risk tolerance to make sure their plan is on track to meet their financial goals.
The following article is taken from the Investor Insights page on the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority’s website:
Volatile markets can inspire feelings of fear and anxiety among investors. The market surges and sags that we experience can be for any number of reasons—trade policy concerns, tax breaks, inflation fears, economic optimism, concern of a global pandemic or a recession watch. The stock market reacts, and sometimes so do we. It raises the question: what should you do in times of volatile markets? In many situations, the answer is sit tight, and take the long view.
“One enduring truth about stock markets is that they go up, and they go down—and the steeper the rise or the fall, the more tempting it can be to derail a long-term strategy with a snap decision,” said Gerri Walsh, FINRA’s Senior Vice President of Investor Education. “Especially when markets fall sharply, we tend to react on impulse. Before that becomes your reaction to market volatility, focus first on your goals and your investment timeframe.”
Investors who need short-term liquidity—for example, if you plan to make a large purchase such as a house or a car, or you know a tuition bill is about to come due—will likely want to pursue a different path than investors who do not need cash right away. All else being equal, the latter group might be better able to stomach volatility in the short term. But any investor who cannot bear the thought of—or cannot afford—locking in losses in times of volatility may want to explore less volatile alternatives to help secure their portfolio’s value.
“Talk to your investment professional,” said Walsh. “And consider the broader consequences. How does any action you choose to take in the moment impact your portfolio in the future? What are the tax consequences? Before you make any decisions regarding your investments, it’s important that you keep your emotions in check and understand what is going on.” Whether any given day’s drop reflects a market correction, an anomaly or the beginning of a bear market can take time to figure out – and is outside the control of any one investor. So control what you can – and focus on key investing concepts such as staying diversified and rebalancing to stay aligned with your goals.
The performance quoted herein represents past performance. Past performance does not guarantee future results. Investors cannot invest directly in an Index and performance represents gross returns without net fees if any.
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